If your business depends on your creativity, then any obstacles to creativity you face can derail your plans in short order. I’ve been there and faced many times in my own business where creative blocks have caused more downtime than is healthy either in terms of profitability or my own personal well-being.
When that happens, the task then becomes figuring out where your creative blocks are, and then doing something about them.
Here are 9 common obstacles to creativity you might be facing:
1. Fear of ridicule
This is a huge one for me. Even though I know that someone, somewhere is always going to criticize, as someone who was bullied by ridicule as a child, that has stayed with me over the years. Fear of being made fun of is no laughing matter.
I’ve found that for me, the best thing I can tell myself when that little voice says “what if they laugh at me? What if they think I’m stupid?” is “Who cares, they’re not part of your community anyways.”
2. Dwelling on the past
This goes along with #1 above. We all know that our past can have a huge bearing on our current thoughts and beliefs. It’s important to realize that just because something happened in the past, it doesn’t have to affect our future going forward.
Letting go of the past and its power over you in the present can do wonders for unblocking your creative energy. (And yes, I know it’s easier said than done.)
3. Your own mindset
Your own mindset can be one of the obstacles to creativity that you have to deal with. When your thoughts are filled with things like anger, fear, impatience, and sadness it’s easy to feel that you can’t be creative.
While it’s true that creativity often responds better when you’re in a more positive and uplifted mindset, this article from Psychology Today shows that even negative emotions can have a positive effect on it in a different way.
4. Interruptions from others
When you work at home, your creative time can be filled with interruptions from family members, phone calls, and other demands for your time.
One way to deal with this is to schedule your creative time for when you know you will have fewer interruptions. Creativity needs time and space to fuel itself, so early morning or later in the evening might work better for you then during the day when others may take priority.
5. Interruptions from yourself
In the same vein as being interrupted by others, being distracted like being interrupted by yourself! Recognizing how you often waste time and removing those options from your environment can go a long way towards removing this obstacle to your creativity.
6. Feeling stressed
Feeling stressed is one of those obstacles to creativity that we all deal with from time to time. Whether you’re stressed because you’re tired, worried about finances, illness, or just a general lack of time, it’s harder to be creative than it would be if you were relaxed and feeling peaceful.
Taking time to relax and decompress before you start your creative work can be a huge help. Getting outside or meditating are just a couple of ways you can jumpstart your creativity when stress has got you down.
7. Not going far enough.
This may seem counterintuitive, but once you’ve got a good, creative idea do you stop there? Or do you continue searching for something even better?
Sometimes settling for the first idea that come along can be an obstacle to creativity in that you know, in your heart, that it’s not necessarily the right idea for you at the time.
8. You have too many options
Having too many options can be just as big an obstacle to creativity as not having enough or settling for one that you’re not sure is the right one. Sometimes it’s easier to harness your creative energy if you do limit your choices.
9. Fear of failure
I left this for last because to me, it’s the biggest one of the obstacles to creativity that we’ve talked about here. If you’re afraid that what you create isn’t good enough, or that it’s not going to turn out before you even get started, it can be a total block on your creativity.
The best thing you can do in this case is to think about other times you’ve failed and it wasn’t the end of the world. Ask yourself what would happen if you failed at this. Would it be the end of the world? Or would you figure out what went wrong and come up with another creative solution to do it better next time?
As you can see, there are many obstacles to creativity that you could face on an given day. But, your creativity is a huge part of what makes you the unique person you are, so don’t let these blocks get you down. Take some time to reflect on what is blocking you, and then figure out a way to get past it and start creating again.
We’ll talk more about this in future articles, but for now… happy creating!